• Explore and Discover One of the Last Frontiers in the World ...

    Jewel Cave

    National Monument South Dakota

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  • Caution - Roadwork on Highway 16

    Construction projects both along highway 16 and the Jewel Cave parking lot are in progress. The Jewel Cave Visitor Center is open daily from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. with tours scheduled throughout the day. No reservations for cave tours.

  • Highway 16 construction near Jewel Cave entrance

    Construction of Highway 16 through Jewel Cave National Monument is progressing on schedule. Motorists should use caution while traveling through the construction zone. Visitors to Jewel Cave should plan extra travel time and come early in the day. More »

  • The parking lot at Jewel Cave takes shape

    Jewel Cave's parking lot project is on schedule for completion this fall. The stairs and wheelchair ramp to the visitor center are under construction. Signage along a service road and staff assistance will help guide visitors to the visitor center. More »

Cave Trip Summaries

A caver in a large passage in Jewel Cave

A caver in Dreary Boulevard, a large passage near the Scenic Tour route in Jewel Cave.

NPS Photo by Dan Austin

Exploration of Jewel Cave is ongoing, and airflow studies indicate that only a fraction of the cave has been discovered so far.

Click the links below to read summaries of some cave exploration trips:

September 10, 2014: A team of four cave explorers surveyed 106.85 feet near the Curio Shop in the main part of the cave. The length of the cave is now 171.96 miles.

March 11, 2014: Recently, there were three cave exploration trips with about 675.4 feet discovered and surveyed. One trip was to the southeast area known as The Turtle Room, and one trip went west to the Visc / Vard section of the cave. The third trip was to the west and south past the Fitting Room. Cave explorers discovered a passage heading southwest off the edge of the current map that they named the Southwest Splinter. Explorers ran out of time, but the passage continues beyond where they had to stop, with airflow (a lead). This last trip also replaced an old 2-gallon water collector in the far west with a new 15-gallon water collector.

November 2, 2013: The survey team mapped 1,168.32 feet of new passages in an area between Blessed Relief and Pseudomite Corner. The passages were mostly walking in size, but there was one squeeze that was named "The Vocal Struggle". A new loft was discovered with a popcorn-covered ceiling more than 60 feet tall so we called it "Kettlecorn Loft". Many smaller passages were left as continuing leads from this new area.

July 21, 2013: An exploration team went to the Mind Blower area and mapped 90 feet of new passages. The explorers were hoping to make a connection between the Mind Blower and Art Attack areas, but did not succeed on this trip.

July 14, 2013: The exploration team went to a lead just before the Miseries and discovered a lower level passage with shelfstone, flowstone, and dry pools. In some places the ceiling was 40 feet tall. They surveyed 273.25 feet and left more passages to explore at a later date.

April 25, 2013: G Survey

April 18. 2013: Rambling Loft

April 11, 2013: G Survey

April 6, 2013: Awesome Brink

April 5, 2013: Fiscal Cliff

March 28, 2013: Rosette Room

March 13-16, 2013: Four-Day Camp

March 8, 2013: Fiscal Cliff

February 28, 2013: The Hub

February 23, 2013: Big Block Room

February 21, 2013: G Survey

February 10, 2013: Counting House

February 9, 2013: Cloud Nine

February 7, 2013: Rambling Loft

February 2, 2013: Z Survey

January 17, 24, and 31, 2013: G Survey

January 10, 2013: G Survey

December 30, 2012 - January 2, 2013: Four-Day Camp

Did You Know?

Calcite Spar Crystal/NPS file photo

The “jewels” of Jewel Cave are calcite spar crystals. Calcite, which is about as hard as your fingernail, is too soft to be considered a true jewel.